A farmer whose son was crushed while working on his pickup truck has been accused of murdering him and trying to make it appear like an accident.
Police in upstate New York arrested Karl Karlsen on Friday following a probe into his 23-year-old son's 2008 death, the Syracuse Post-Standard reported. The 52-year-old father allegedly killed his son Levi to cash a hefty insurance policy that he took out only days before the so-called staged accident in the family's barn in the Finger Lake region,
The original story, which investigators believed, was that Karlsen returned from a family event and discovered Levi pinned motionless, according to the Associated Press. He told his wife to call 911 while he made vain efforts to rescue him.
Investigators took a second look at the case after learning in March that Karlsen was the sole beneficiary of a life insurance policy for his son. It raised suspicions because Levi has two daughters.
Evidence at the crime scene in Romulus didn't paint the picture of an accident either, according to police who told CNYcentral.com that they determined the truck didn't fall from the jack. They now believe that Karlsen deliberately dropped the pickup on top of his son before leaving the house to attend the event.
It's the first murder in rural Seneca County in more than a decade.
Karlsen was held on second-degree murder charges. Joint effort of several local and state law enforcement agencies led to the arrest.
The charges raise questions about the accidental death of Karlsen's first wife who was killed in a California home fire on New Year's Day in 1991. Investigators are looking at that case again to see if foul play could have been involved. Catharine's father Art Alexander told the Post Standard that he always suspected his son-in-law was responsible. Levi was one of three children rescued from the home that day.